Archive of D Napier and Son

Scope and Content

Company records of D Napier and Son, internal combustion engine builders. This collection is currently being fully catalogued throughout 2018-1019.

There are a large number of drawings, images on catalogue records, Napier called these sketches although they are technical/detailed drawings. The following is taken from the manual of Napier Drawing Office Practice, 1952. Many of the drawings predate the manual by a number of years, and fall into the category of Past Practice:

"Sketches are drawings used either to supplement data given on detail drawings or to record information that is not necessarily related to particular drawings but is, nevertheless, essential to manufacture. Sketches relevant to a particular detail drawing are quoted on the drawing, and they thereby dorm a suitable space for information that would probably crowd the drawing. Sketches that are concerned with a particular aspect of manufacture are recorded in a Master Reference Drawing, or in the relevant Specification. A further use for Sketches is to record material specifications, either for special materials or abridges standard specifications. Past Practice: At one time Sketches were used as Stamping Drawings and some of the Stamping Dies recorded by this method are still alive."

Most of the photographs have been digitised and are online, digitised drawings appear on their individual catalogue records (use link below) - digitised photographs.

Current catalogue.

Administrative / Biographical History

A large part of D.Napier & Son business from 1946 to 2014 was the design and manufacture of units for the diesel engines of English Electric Company and many others under the name of "Turbochargers" or "Turbo Blowers", produced at Acton and Liverpool works. Tens of thousands were built in various sizes for widespread use all over the world to turbocharge diesels for boats, locomotives and generating plants. The drawing numbers for these were separate to Napier engines however, and don't appear on the "Engine Number list" but were seen as additional products. Napier Turbocharger Company in Lincoln was finally bought-out by WABTEC in 2014.

In 1961 a new company Napier Aero Engines Limited was formed by D. Napier & Son and Rolls-Royce, to take over the Napier aero-engine business and the Acton engine factory.


Items are arranged by engine type, except for photographs which are catalogued in their original order; models are also separate. For engines, materials generally includes

  • NAP/1: Administrative (business-wide records such as minutes)
  • NAP/2: Reports (cross-departmental/engine type)
  • NAP/3: Objects (models and trophies)
  • NAP/4: Photographs (cross-departmental/engine type; mainly produced by Napier for advertising)
  • NAP/5: Lion/Lioness
  • NAP/6: Sabre
  • NAP/7: Gazelle
  • NAP/8: Deltic
  • NAP/9: Scorpion
  • NAP/10: Nomad
  • NAP/11: Eland

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Access Information

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Karyn French, Archivist, Mar 2018.